Pradeep Pattanayak

Everything seems to be fair not just in love and war but also in politics too as family members pitted against one another in the Panchayat elections are leaving no stone unturned to win the race for seats. 

A glaring election-motivated family tussle is being witnessed in Lipinda Panchayat of Sambalpur district where husband and wife are confronting each other. While Prafulla Mirddha is pulling out all stops to win the Sarpanch seat, his wife Munmun Majhi is firing all cylinders to clinch the same seat. Mirddha is a two-time Samiti member and former Block vice-chairman of Jujumura. Similarly, Majhi is a former Zilla Parishad member. 
However, the reason behind the couple being pitted against each other is nothing sort of a typical political family rivalry, often seen in politics. They are in the fray only to prevent outsiders from winning the Sarpanch post. 

Meanwhile, Majhi is contemplating withdrawing her nomination. 

“My husband has been associated with politics. So I wish he should win the election. To ensure his victory, I will withdraw my nomination,” said Majhi. About his wife, Mirddha said she has always a penchant for serving people. 

In Jamunali Panchayat of Angul district, another couple-Suryalata Pradhan and Basant Pradhan-have been vying for the Sarpanch post. They were campaigning for the post till Monday when Basant, due to some reasons, had to withdraw his nomination.

But Dhumat Panchayat in Kendrapara district needs mention here as a woman and her co-wife are in the fray. A resident of the Panchayat, Akshaya Mallick has two wives. His first wife is Sasmita and the second is Kamala. Akshaya and Sasmita had a love marriage and the divorce case is subjudice. Both Sasmita and Kamala have filed their nominations for the Sarpanch post. They are moving heaven and earth to ensure one another’s defeat. Sasmita, an ASHA worker, has a wish to serve the people of her area. “Since I have been with people for 13 years, it is their wish to see me as the Sarpanch. No I am staying with my parents from where I have been launching my campaign,” said Sasmita. 

Another tug-of-war is being witnessed in Malkangiri district’s Nayakguda Panchayat where three brothers are vying for Samiti member post. Chitrakonda MLA Purnachandra Baka’s son Mahesh Baka is contesting for the Samit member post. The two sons of the MLA’s elder brother are also vying for the same post. All of these three siblings are well educated and they all wish to serve people through politics. 

“Every Indian citizen has the right to cast vote and participate in elections. So I don’t see anything wrong in my cousins contesting the elections,” observed Mahesh. 
And, in Ekamba Panchayat of Koraput district, a man finds his nephew as his contestant for the Samiti member post. Binayak Mohapatra and his nephew Tapas Panda are in the fray. While Mohapatra is contesting the polls, counting on his long association with the people and experience, Panda is drawing strength from his experience in student politics. 

“I have been working for the people of my locality. So I decided to contest for Samiti member post. It was when my nephew expressed his desire to contest the election that I gave him my consent,” said Binayak Mohapatra, an aspirant for Samiti member post. 

“I see the more numbers people coming forward to serve people through politics as a good sign.Regardung my fight with my uncle, I have to say that we are fighting the poll battle in our own ways,” maintained Tapas Panda, a Samiti member aspirant.

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